True Terana Peace Park Event: Learn Tadelakt, an Ancient Plaster Finishing Method

What a great turn out last weekend for our cob workshop, in which we built the cob couches for True Terana Peace Park!   In September, GreenWeaver will be conducting a hands on workshop for those of you interested in learning the Tadelakt lime plaster method; participants will practice the method by finishing the couches.    Tadelakt is described below if you are interested in participating, but first check out these pictures from last weekend:





Cob Completed1-1






Beautiful, right?  Read on to learn more about the Tadelakt finish that comes next; who knows, you may be inspired to build something in your own house using this ancient and natural method!


What is Tadelakt?

Tadelakt is a completely waterproof, polished lime plaster made from lime and finished with olive oil soap.  The history of this highly specialized plastering technique dates back thousands of years.  It has its origins in and around the ancient city of Marrakech in Morocco at the foot of the High Atlas mountains. There the Berbers, some of the original people to inhabit North Africa, discovered the magical water resistant chemistry of lime combined with olive soap.

In the beginning, tadelakt was used as technique to waterproof earthen cisterns, the ability to effectively and hygenically store water was a major development. It was not long before tadelakt became recognized as an unbelievably beautiful finish technique that could be pigmented and applied on any surface. Tadelakt became a highly prized surface treatment that was widely applied in the traditional north African hammams, and royal palaces. To this day in Morocco, the tadelakt technique is passed down as an oral tradition from master to apprentice in an unbroken lineage that dates back several thousand years.

The word “Tadelakt” comes from the Arabic verb “dlek” which means to rub, knead or perhaps most appropriately, “to caress” this describes the final step of finishing where a smooth stone is used to burnish the lime.  The allure of tadelakt is not easily described in words or pictures. It is only through touching it that you can fully appreciate this unique finish.  A tadelakt surface is at once hard as stone and soft as silk. The combination of the soap and lime creates a living breathing surface that appears to be part stone, part leather, velvety smooth.

Unlike some other plasters, tadelakt is not a standardized finish. Walls look rustic, and hand crafted. Tadelakt has a shiny, slightly wavy appearance and is colored with the same mineral pigments that have been used since antiquity. Over time, the lime develops a patina that creates a subtle ever changing lumination. Properly applied, tadelakt develops very fine hairline cracks that add to the ancient appearance of the finish. Because of it’s unique characteristics, tadelakt can be made to seamlessly cover walls, ceilings, floors, sinks, showers, even bathtubs.



Alluring Moroccan Tadelakt Lime Plaster Finish Workshop

September 18-22, 2013
True Nature Healing Arts
100 N. Third St., Carbondale, CO

Taught by Ryan Chivers of Artesano Plaster with Liz Johndrow of Earthen Endeavors

This is a one-of-a-kind experience to learn the exacting process of this ancient waterproof lime plaster technique on three outdoor earthen couches in the new True Terana Peace Park.

The workshop will cover:

  • The basics of Tadelakt plaster formulation
  • How to source raw materials to create a Tadelakt mixture from commonly available sources
  • Suitable substrates and basecoats for the application of Tadelakt
  • The techniques of applying Tadelakt


The workshop will be complemented by tours of local Tadelakt and other plaster examples, and evening slideshows with Liz Johndrow of Earthen Endeavors and Laura Bartels of GreenWeaver.

Cost: $500

Register online at or call 970-379-6779 for more information

Register Now- Limited To 12 Participants!

Ryan Chivers is widely recognized as one of the leading practitioners of Tadelakt in the U.S.  In 2005 he studied the Tadelakt technique in Marrakech, Morocco. Ryan has been instrumental in developing a viable Tadelakt system that works on the various building systems most commonly found in this country.    Ryan is the owner of Artesano Plaster, in Boulder CO. and the Artesano Tadelakt  page on Facebook